Self-Improvement Tarot, Astrology, and Crystals: Why These Practices Are Helpful to Certain People By Sarah Fielding Sarah Fielding LinkedIn Twitter Sarah Fielding is a freelance writer covering a range of topics with a focus on mental health and women's issues. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 13, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Verywell / Zoe Hansen No two people have the same mental health experience, and thus no two people can deal with it in the same way. There is plenty of overlap, of course, but there is a unique set of strategies that works for each individual, even if they might appear a bit fringe. With that in mind, as long as a coping mechanism doesn’t hurt themselves or anyone else, there is no reason to judge it. Such is the case for techniques such as astrology, tarot, crystals, reiki, and more spiritual-based options. Why does taking a long walk count as doing something for your mental health but exploring a spiritual practice doesn’t? What's wrong with holding a crystal while you meditate if it makes you feel more grounded? Too often in the world of mental health care, people are presented with therapy, medication, or one of a handful of coping mechanisms as complete solutions. Each of these options is incredibly important and can help so many people—sometimes without any additional care. But they could also be limiting if presented as the only option for individuals who find comfort in holistic practices. There are plenty of options for balanced supplementation, and if something makes you feel good, go for it! Some people might start their morning with a daily prescribed dose of an SSRI and then read their tarot cards. Or, in therapy, discussing astrology might be utilized as just another lens for self-reflection. “‘Wellness’ is one of the biggest, often eye-roll-inducing, buzzwords of today,” says Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, a certified cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner and clinical trauma specialist and best-selling author of the book A Jewish Guide to the Mysterious. “There is certainly a wide spectrum of practices that promote wellness and mental health that are not part of the formal medical establishment. All of these matters are premised on taking a holistic look at a person, meaning that mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected and affect each other," says Pinchas. Holistic Practices Are Becoming More Mainstream Astrology alone is now more than a $2 Billion industry, with popular horoscope apps like Co-Star going mainstream. When Donelson Jones first opened her practice, she kept astrology readings separate from her therapy practice. But, over time, many of her clients showed an interest in integrating it, and now she uses astrology with most therapy clients. Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, a certified cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner and clinical trauma specialist There is certainly a wide spectrum of practices that promote wellness and mental health that are not part of the formal medical establishment. All of these matters are premised on taking a holistic look at a person, meaning that mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected and affect each other. — Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, a certified cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner and clinical trauma specialist Rabbi Taylor believes most people are “inherently spiritual,” explaining “that desire to connect has to go somewhere, and so today, with a decline in communal religious participation, many more today are exploring different holistic practices.” Stephanie Gailing, MS, an astrologer and wellness consultant, has practiced for over 25 years. When she started, these practices were far from mainstream. Only in the last few years has she noticed a significant shift in the general public’s relationship with astrology. Whereas people used to know only their sun sign, she now meets people who know their whole chart and are curious to learn more about integrating it into their daily life. “It’s been interesting recently as I have been starting to get more client referrals from therapists,” adds Gailing. “To me, what that reflects partially is not only a mainstreaming of astrology but also an understanding of how this approach to self-awareness can be an adjunct to traditional approaches for healing, including therapy.” What This Means For You Astrology and related practices are not based on scientific evidence. However, exploring them to see what brings you comfort and enjoyment might have benefits on your mental health. Test Out Holistic Practices To See What Works For You Once again, there’s no one or best option for everyone. Lauren Donelson Jones, MA, LMFTA, an IFS therapist and astrologer, recommends starting with things that draw you in and trying to keep doing them daily or weekly. “For example, commit to doing a daily 10-minute grounding meditation for three months. Notice how it impacts your mental health. If it’s working, keep going. If not, reevaluate,” she says. “There’s likely another practice that would be a better fit,” says Donelson Jones. If you see a mental health professional, tell them about the techniques you’re trying, and they may be able to guide or suggest something to you, adds Donelson Jones. “Experiment with different tools,” she says. “Work with your provider to track progress to see what’s working and what might need adjustments.” Stephanie Gailing, MS, an astrologer and wellness consultant While well-inspired horoscopes can provide people with insights that can be helpful, I do think that just relying upon your horoscope and fully making decisions based upon it — rather than filtering it through your feelings, knowledge, and intuition to see how or if it resonates — can be problematic. — Stephanie Gailing, MS, an astrologer and wellness consultant Gailing warns against accepting your astrological readings at face value. “While well-inspired horoscopes can provide people with insights that can be helpful, I do think that just relying upon your horoscope and fully making decisions based upon it—rather than filtering it through your feelings, knowledge, and intuition to see how or if it resonates—can be problematic,” she says. “It becomes a giving away of one’s personal power to an ‘authority figure.’” To this end, she implores clients not to accept everything she tells them as the ultimate truth but to filter through it to see what aligns with their deep sense of self. Also, be aware of who is providing you with astrological information. Gailing notes that the increased popularity of astrology has caused people to call themselves astrologers without taking any time to study the practice. Best Astrology Apps How to Utilize Medical And Holistic Practices To Better Your Mental Health Exploring holistic practices doesn’t mean saying goodbye to medical interventions. You can integrate a variety of techniques into your life. “It’s so important to include all perspectives,” says Donelson Jones. “Tools like astrology, tarot, and yoga are therapeutic, but they’re not psychotherapy. Psychotherapy has different impacts compared to medication. It’s all valid, and it can take time to figure out what works for you.” Gailing seconds the reminder that tools like astrology are not meant to replace therapy. Instead, these additional practices can help people better understand themselves as they work through and take care of their mental health. “I envision that this collaborative approach may flourish, which can be quite beneficial for the clients that we serve,” she says. While Gailing weaves self-care tips into her sessions, she refers anyone who presents with signs of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, to a mental health professional. The Psychology Behind Why We Care about Astrology See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.